Courtesy of UR Communications

The Douglas Lowry Memorial Celebration, held on Nov. 3 at Kodak Hall, commemorated the legacy of Douglas Lowry, Jean and Martin Messinger Dean Emeritus of the Eastman School of Music. Lowery passed away on Oct. 2 surrounded by his family after a long battle with cancer. Kodak Hall was filled with students, friends, community members, faculty, and staff of the school both past and present.

“Rarely has an academic leader more completely achieved his aspirations,” UR president Joel Seligman said in his speech at the ceremony. “Doug left Eastman a far stronger school than when he began.”

The Eastman Philharmonia began the service with a movement of Gustav Mahler’s second symphony, which they presented in full on Oct. 18 in Kodak Hall. The movement is titled, “Urlicht” or “Primal Light” and featured mezzo-soprano Melissa Zgouridi as the soloist.

Eastman Philharmonia, Eastman Brass, and Eastman Chorale, presented many of Lowry’s compositions including his choral piece, “Wm’s Ghosts.” These pieces were selected and planned by Lowery before his passing.

Speakers at the celebration included Seligman, Dr. Seymour Schwartz, Julliard School of Music president Joseph Polisi, Jane Goldbeck, Director for Pastoral Care at the Catholic Newman Community Fr. Brian Cool, University of Redlands president Ralph Kuncl, Rabbi Messinger,  conductor laureate of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Christopher Seaman, and Lowry’s three children, Timothy, Jennifer, and Melanie.

Speakers shared their memories of Lowry’s distinguished career as a composer, conductor, and academic leader as well as a wonderful father and pizza chef.

“Of all his many strengths, perhaps Doug’s greatest gift was his passion for people,” Eastman School of Music Dean Jamal J. Rossi said. “His personal warmth, quick wit, keen intelligence, and his caring spirit were clearly evident in every encounter.”

Among his many accomplishments were the continued improvement and renovations of the Eastman School of Music. During his six-year tenure, Lowry initiated and oversaw  the renovation of Kodak Hall and the construction of Eastman East Wing, including Hatch Recital Hall. This endeavor was the largest architectural transformation in the school’s history.

Speakers also mentioned Lower’s commitment to the expansion of Eastman’s international partnerships in China and Europe, as well as the creation of the Center for Music Innovation and Engagement under Eastman’s Institute for Music Leadership.

Many speakers at the memorial celebration quoted Lowry’s own speeches, demonstrating his philosophy and dedication to musical excellence. Lowry was known for writing his own speeches, including his annual address at commencement.

“Please understand that time is precious. I urge you to not take anything for granted,” Lowery said in his commencement address of 2013. “To raise your awareness to the height of revelation, for every moment in your life will be rendered much richer if the light of your attention burns brighter.”

Sanguinetti is a member of the class of 2015.

Additional reporting by Hannah Lee.

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